Wednesday 16 March 2011

114 The Celestial Toymaker Part 4: The Final Test

EPISODE: The Celestial Toymaker Part 4: The Final Test
TRANSMITTED: 23 April 1966
WRITER: Brian Hayles
DIRECTOR: Bill Sellars
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Lost In Time

We're back on DVD and with the trusty Doctor Who - Lost In Time set for the final episode of this story, and indeed it's our last use of Lost in Time for the Hartnell era.

Dodo & Steven play schoolboy Cyril at a version of hopscotch involving numbered stepping stones surrounded by an electrified floor. Cyril's cheating results in they being penalised and he winning the game. However Cyril slips from a stone celebrating and is killed. The Doctor reaches the penultimate move in his game and is poised to win becoming visible again. He goes to leave with Steven & Dodo but the Tardis is immobilised by the Toymaker who won't let them leave until the Doctor completes the game. However the Doctor knows that completing the game and defeating the Toymaker will destroy the Toymaker's realm. A chance remark from Steven about not being able to talk their way out of the situation gives The Doctor the solution: he impersonated the Toymaker's voice and orders the Trilogic game to advance to the final move. Celebrating with a packet of sweets Dodo obtained from Cyril, The Doctor hurts a tooth.

A game of two halves this episode: The hopscotch game works well and the Trilogic Game interludes work much better on screen than on sound, both of which make me wonder how much better the preceding three episodes might have worked with their pictures. After that the episode sags a bit as the travellers try to find out why they can't leave.

Episode four is the only episode of the Celestial Toymaker, returned from the ABC in Sydney. It's believed it was a copy sold to the ABC, passed to TVS in Singapore and the returned to the ABC by accident who put it into storage, forgot about it, found it and returned it to the BBC in early 1984. It was released on the Hartnell Years VHS tape along with the Pilot episode and The Crusade part 3, and on DVD as part of Doctor Who - Lost In Time. All four episodes have had their soundtrack released with narration by Peter Purves. Doctor Who: the Celestial Toymaker was released in April 2001 and has recently been re-released as part of Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: (1965-1966) No. 2

Incredibly the run of five episodes from here through the four episodes of the Gunfighters is the most number of consecutive episodes present in the BBC archives from Seasons 3, 4 or 5 of the program! Season 4 has a three episode run, the first three episodes of Tenth Planet, the only consecutive episodes from that season existing, while season 5 has a four episode run, the entirety of the Tomb of the Cybermen, and a three episode run, the last three episodes of the Ice Warriors, plus the final episode, Wheel in Space, marks the starts of an Eleven episode run into Season 6 through The Dominators & The Mind Robber. Season Six contains 14 consecutive episodes: The last four of the Invasion, The four episode Krotons and six episode Seeds of Death. For completeness I should mention the ten consecutive episodes of the War Games at the end Season 6, but that marks the point from which all episodes of Doctor Who are known to exist, and the question then becomes what format do we hold them in and are they in colour........ but we'll talk about that much later.

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